An overview of folklore, religion and popular intuition surrounding childbirth, pregnant women, and young infants: abortion by aswang, blood-drinking Lilith, curses from witches, skeletal-faced spirits, and demonic births. content advisory: infant mortality [more inside]
Evidence Based Birth is a blog with articles by Rebecca Dekker, a PhD nurse and faculty member at the University of Kentucky, summarizing the best medical evidence for childbirth practices. To start, check out the table summarizing the state of US maternity care to see the differences between current standard childbirth practices and evidence based care. The topics page lists the currently available articles. [more inside]
"If an NHS trust proposed today that it was going to introduce Viagra sales reps into men's genitourinary wards, or reps for walking aids to orthopaedic wards, the very least you'd expect would be some stout resistance. It is a measure of the strength of the association between "motherhood" and "buying stuff" that the presence of commercial representatives on maternity wards has been tolerated for so long."[more inside]
Before the days of Roe v. Wade (and sometimes after) girls who got pregnant were sent away. Now one of the places that housed them is closing. [more inside]
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
Progesterone caproate injections have been used to reduce the likelihood of premature births in at-risk pregnant women for years. Up until now, the drug was custom-compounded by wholesale and specialist pharmacies, legally, but without federal approval. These injections cost between $5 and $15 a dose and were regularly reimbursed by insurance companies and Medicaid. Last month, the FDA announced their approval of a commercially produced version of the compound, to be marketed under the brand name Makena by a company called KV Pharmaceuticals. No stranger to controversy and trouble, KV barely survived a rash round of layoffs and wrongful termination lawsuits. Their former chief executive now faces criminal charges surrounding the company's failure to notify the FDA that they were producing oversized morphine tablets. (He could also do for a shave, it appears.) Now, KV has announced that the new drug will be available at a cost of $1,500 per dose, bringing the total pregnancy term cost of treatment to $25,000-$30,000, from its former cost of $250-$300, a 100-fold increase—but it gets worse... [more inside]
Let's Panic About Babies! "Fortunately for everyone in the whole wide world, Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy have created the only website that accurately explains the journey from morning sickness to third-degree tears to keeping that baby alive for a year–or more! LET’S PANIC ABOUT BABIES will serve as a salve to the mystery and degradation of this most female of challenges. Its authors may not have 'science' on their side, but what they do have is far more valuable: a heady mélange of female intuition, sentence-forming know-how, and the achingly vivid memories of their own gestational journeys and unending motherhoods. So join Alice and Eden as they tell you exactly what to think and feel and do on every one of your 2,681 days* of pregnancy. They know everything! * 'Science' would tell you that human gestation is actually, on average, 266 days. This is one of many ways in which science is terribly wrong." [more inside]
Your unborn child as produce - You'll never look at chard the same way again.
Pregnant in America. A trailer from a documentary ("coming 2007") about contemporary US birth practices, which may not be best practices. The politics make for interesting reading. See also: Monty Python's The Miracle of Birth.
Living With a Dying Baby. "Families can choreograph their child’s very brief life with their family . . . Sometimes they may have a matter of minutes, so they decide beforehand who can hold the baby, who will cut the umbilical cord, who will hold the baby when you know he is going to die."
Grin And Bear It, Woman! Think Of England! Caesarean births in the U.K. should be severely curtailed, say the medical mandarins. Germaine Greer says, in a cracking column, that the new guidelines are misogyny pure and simple. Is it just my impression (think of American Pie-type teenage movies; advertising; "guy lit") or are hatred of women and beery, bozo celebrations of indifference to the feminine sex on the up and up?
Avoiding Wrongful Birth Lawsuits, ob/gyn's in France have decided just to "not know" about problems before birth. So, no more ultrasounds. Original wrongful birth thread can be found here.
Sorry guys, but birth is women's business. Call me a stickler. But the notion of male involvement in the nine very long months of pregnancy has, in some circles, gone way over the top.